Land Use And Zoning

  1. Imperative Need For Closer Relationship
  2. Future Land Use Pattern
  3. Present Zoning
  4. Proposed Zoning

Imperative Need For Closer Relationship

The amount of land used for various purposes in a city, and the amount required for future growth and development, is a dominant element in the city plan.

Table Number VI shows total land use in St. Louis at four successive ten year intervals.

Table Number VI
Amount Of Land In Various Uses
City of St. Louis, 1915 - 1945
Date Total City Streets & Alleys Vacant Net Area Occupied Resi- dential Commer- cial Indus- trial Public & Semi- Public
Number of Acres
1915a 39,836.0 7,500.0b 12,906.2 19,429.8 8,553.1 1,042.6 3,995.6 5,838.5
1925a 39,836.0 8,200.0b 9,847.2 21,788.8 9,950.2 1,324.1 4,539.9 5,974.6
1935 39,836.0 8,803.3 6,360.9 24,671.8 11,881.1 1,768.5 4,865.0 6,157.2
1945 39,836.0 8,820.9 5,972.7 25,042.4 12,075.4 1,715.0 4,977.5 6,274.5

Date Net Area Occupied Residential Commercial Industrial Public & Semi- Public
Per Cent of Net Area Occupied
1915 100.0 44.0 5.4 20.6 30.0
1925 100.0 45.7 6.1 20.8 27.4
1935 100.0 48.2 7.2 19.7 24.9
1945 100.0 48.2 6.9 19.9 25.0

Date Streets & Alleys Vacant Net Area Occupied Resi- dential Commer- cial Indus- trial Public & Semi- Public
Per Cent Increase in Various Uses, 1915-1945
1915-1925 9.3 -23.7 12.1 16.3 27.0 13.6 2.3
1925-1935 7.4 -35.4 13.2 19.4 33.6 7.2 3.1
1935-1945 0.3 -6.5 1.5 1.6 -3.1 2.3 1.9
a) Land Use for 1915 and 1925 figured by using 1935 as a base and subtracting known amounts of various uses absorbed from vacant property. Changes from land uses other than vacant not known previous to 1935.
b) Estimated.

The present land use pattern for both city and metropolitan area is shown by Plate Number 5. St. Louis has grown in traditional American city fashion. The business center is slightly removed from the waterfront site of the early city, industry adjoins railroads and water courses, and residence has spread further and further outward first along main thoroughfares and then by gradual filling in of intervening areas. Stores and shops follow main thoroughfares. Public and semi-public uses are interspersed among the residence areas.

Three major conflicts in the land use pattern are revealed by detailed examination of various neighborhoods. See Plate Number 6, Number 7, Number 7a and Number 8. These are:

  1. Smaller off-track industries scatter into older residence areas instead of grouping in well-defined areas. See also Plate Number 9.
  2. Apartment houses scatter into single-family districts instead of grouping and creating their own beneficial environment.
  3. Many stores and shops scatter into residence areas instead of grouping into well defined centers.

Zoning came too late in the city's development to prevent much of this conflict. Early zoning plans were made without the benefit of modern land use studies resulting in too much area being zoned for commerce and industry and insufficient area allotted for residence.

Facts of particular significance are:

  1. Residential land use exceeds the combined acreage of commerce and industry-80 per cent greater in fact.
  2. Residential land use and concomitant public and semi-public property comprise approximately three-fourths of the net occupied area of the city.
  3. Commercial land use is extremely small, occupying but 6.9 per cent of net area and but 4.3 per cent of total city area.
  4. Commercial land use expanded more rapidly than other uses from 1915 to 1935 but has contracted since the latter date.
  5. Public and semi-public land use has declined in its percentage of net occupied area (i.e., from 30 per cent in 1915 to 25 per cent in 1945).
  6. Industrial land use expanded moderately from 1915 to 1925 but has increased slowly since the latter date.
  7. Residential land use expanded considerably from 1915 to 1935 but has grown very little since then.
  8. The supply of improved vacant land is very nearly exhaust ed being now but 14.7 per cent of total city area.

The indicated trends are:

  1. The greatly reduced rate of the total growth of combined residential, commercial and industrial land use between 1935 and 1945, while attributable in part to economic depression and war, and in part to metropolitan decentralization as well as a declining population growth, signifies a maturing instead of an expanding city.
  2. New growth will have to take place as much or more by reconversion of existing land uses as by absorption of the limited amount of remaining vacant land.
  3. While some additional commercial and industrial expansion can be anticipated and should be provided for, the total area involved will be too small to alter the present land use pattern in any appreciable manner.
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